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Automotive Engineering

Love cars? Automotive training at Unitec can help you forge a career as a mechanic, automotive engineer or auto electrician. And with more than four million registered vehicles in New Zealand, skilled professionals are always in hot demand.

As cars become more and more sophisticated, there’s lots of variety too. So now’s the perfect time to turn your passion into a bright future. 

Explore your options

Mechanics, automotive engineers, and auto electricians are needed nationwide to service an industry growing constantly. Study automotive engineering and you’ll learn all about anti-lock braking systems, fuzzy logic, automatic transmissions, engine parameters, safety systems, climate control, and in-car entertainment.

Automotive training means lots of time in the workshop and labs. You’ll pull apart engines, find faults, and see how everything works. You’ll learn how to install automotive accessories, service engines, repair steering, and suspension, and diagnose electronic problems.

There may also be work experience in a local automotive company. It’s a great chance to see how an automotive diagnostics and repair center works. Sometimes, it leads to a job offer or an apprenticeship.

Industry connections

Unitec has been teaching automotive engineering courses for over 30 years. You can join the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME) as a student. Once you’ve graduated, you can also apply to become an Associate Member of the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia.


The automotive industry needs more auto technicians, and employers are looking for young people. Unitec facilitates apprenticeships for the automotive industry, where you learn while you earn and complete your qualifications on the job. Learn more on how Unitec can prepare you for an apprenticeship.

Visit Unitec Virtually

Curious about what our facilities look like? In that case, you can virtual tour our campuses and Mataaho  (one of New Zealand's largest open-plan trades training facilities). Visit Unitec Virtually

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering 3 Full-time for 1 year, or part-time options available Trainee/apprentice mechanic, Trainee/apprentice mechanical engineer February or July
New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering 4 Part-time for 3 to 5 years Automotive electrician Enrolments accepted and start throughout the year
New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering 4 Part-time for 3 to 5 years Light Automotive Engineer Enrolments accepted and start throughout the year
Bachelor of Applied Technology - Automotive Engineering 7 Full-time for three years or part-time (day) options available Vehicle Inspector, Vehicle Service Technician, Vehicle Service Technician, Vehicle Service Center Operations Manager, Sports Vehicle Technician, Vehicle Business Owner, Automotive Trainer, Vehicle Service Advisor, Warranty and Insurance Claim Officer, Automotive Product Manager February or July
Bachelor of Applied Technology - Transport Management 7 Full-time for three years or part-time (day) options available Service Fleet Manager, Logistics Planner, Fleet Controller, Supply Chain and Warehouse Manager, Vehicle Sales and Service Manager February and July

Short courses

Start with a short course that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
Short courses   Description
Vehicle Inspectors Preparatory Course   This short course is designed for people in the automotive industry who want to carry out vehicle inspections.
Vehicle inspector refresher short course   This Vehicle Inspector Refresher training course is designed for vehicle inspector (VI) staff to assist Inspecting organizations (IOs) in meeting the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Quality management system (QMS)...

Funding your study

Find out how to fund your study, including which loans and allowances are available, the fees-free tertiary study policy, and grants and hardship.


Fees Free Tertiary Study

If you’re planning to start tertiary study or training at Unitec for the first time, you may be eligible for fees-free click here to find out more.

Youth Guarantee Scheme

Are you aged 16 to 19 and are looking for a course where you can pick up some practical skills? The Youth Guarantee scheme gives 16 to 19-year-olds the chance to study free for up to one year. click here to find out more.

Māori and Pacific Trades Training

If you are Māori or Pacific, aged 16 to 40, and interested in pre-trades training to become a mechanic, you could get your fees free with the Māori and Pacific Trades Training scholarships. This covers your full tuition fees for selected trades programmes. Find out more about MPTT Scholarships

Grants and hardship

Find out what support is available to students who have been impacted by financial difficulty and need help to meet additional costs for course-related costs and materials click here to find out more.

Loans and allowances (STUDY LINK)

Student loans and allowances are provided by StudyLink to eligible students and can help pay for your course fees and living costs while you study. click here to find out more.